Saints love TE Josh Hill following Jimmy Graham trade

Following the Jimmy Graham trade, Saints coach Sean Payton praised tight end Josh Hill.
David Banks/Getty Images

By Rachel Wold

The New Orleans Saints dealt one of the best tight ends in the NFL when they traded Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks just a couple of weeks ago.

However, since the trade took place, head coach Sean Payton has been talking up tight end Josh Hill, who was an undrafted free agent back in 2013 (via ESPN).

This Josh Hill is another player that I love. I love. When you look at his runs, jumps, height, weight, speed, you look at his measurables — and he didn’t go to the combine, thank God.

At a stately 6’5″ and 229 pounds, Hill totaled 14 receptions for 176 yards and five touchdowns in 2014.

Based on those numbers, it’s hard to imagine Hill having anywhere near the same impact as Graham had in the past. That didn’t stop Payton from throwing even more praise Hill’s way.

And all of a sudden, Josh Hill, you look at a 38-inch vertical jump, he’s an 11 broad (jump), three-cone, whatever. And the comparables to the top tight ends in the draft a year ago, I said, ‘In every category this guy’s better.’ There’s this perception — we’re the same way as coaches — if we (acquire) someone as a free agent after the draft. But when you really look at the film and watch him, if I told you this guy was our third-round draft pick, you’d be excited now.

Payton may be having early Graham withdrawals or perhaps he has found a diamond in the rough to work with in Hill moving forward. The real question is how Hill and quarterback Drew Brees will develop chemistry. Graham was the target of nearly 20 percent of all Brees’ passes last season. If Hill, with his minimal amount of experience, can pick up where Graham left off, it would be a small miracle for the Saints’ offense.

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